here are countless different ways to pursue educational opportunity — some costly, some less so. Rob Stegall moved 15 miles south from Richardson, Texas, to a new home situated within the Dallas Independent School District to secure his daughter’s admission to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He did this because he sensed that Booker T., which counts the singers Erykah Badu, Edie Brickell, and Norah Jones among its alumni, a $55 million theater, state-of-the-art dance studios, and a 25 percent acceptance rate, might offer an opportunity for a talented teenager interested in pursuing a career in theater. And he was not wrong. In 2019, the 250 seniors making up Booker T. ‘s graduating class received $62 million in scholarships, roughly $250,000 per student, to elite colleges across the country — with Julliard taking half of its incoming dance majors from the one magnet school.
Stegall’s daughter would have had a shot at Booker T. from outside the district — she was initially waitlisted — but the school prioritizes in-district students. Stegall was advised by the school’s theater director that a change in address would likely yield a change in admission status. And it did when his daughter joined the class of 2014.
“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”